Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Altruism Advertises Generosity

  • Quésia F. CataldoEmail author
  • Damião S. de Almeida Segundo
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_3473-1



Public altruistic actions advertise about personal qualities such as generosity, which can be a signal of abilities, resources, and good social opportunities.


Altruism is the intention to benefit others at a cost to oneself (Van Vugt and Van Lange 2013). Altruistic behavior and generosity are in the microfoundations of social order (Simpson and Willer 2015). Some theories were developed to explain animal and human prosocial outcomes as generosity and cooperation in the evolutionary context: the kinship altruism and the reciprocal altruism theories (Hamilton 1964; Komter 2010), which indicate that altruistic behavior could contribute to increase survival chances among genetically related and non-related individuals. More recently, the competitive altruism theory (Van Vugt et al. 2007)proposed that altruism is the process through which individuals attempt to outcompete each other in terms of generosity, because...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Quésia F. Cataldo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Damião S. de Almeida Segundo
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversidade Federal do CearáFortalezaBrazil
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyFederal University of Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kevin M. Kniffin
    • 1
  1. 1.Cornell UniversityIthacaUSA